Hi there! Well, another long winter is almost over, and we're definitely ready for spring in Greensboro, NC! In addition to anticipating warmer, sunny days and fun spring holidays, we have another special reason to celebrate at Replacements: March 17th, 2016 marks the anniversary of our 35th year in business!

To commemorate this landmark achievement, we're looking to both our past and our future in this edition of our newsletter. Below you'll find some exciting events on the horizon, a fun retrospective of popular tableware patterns from 1981 (our official "birth year"), a chat with some of our very first customers, and more!

We hope you enjoy reminiscing with us as we reflect on how far we've come and look forward to where we've yet to go!

This collection of patterns represents a fun snapshot of 1981 tableware styles. Included are china, crystal, and silverware favorites like Amapola, Morning Jewel, Genova, Mozart, and many others. While we're sure some patterns will remind you of entertaining in days long past, you may be surprised to see how many are timeless enough to make regular appearances on tables today! Take a look...

In 1981, our founder Bob Page began Replacements, Ltd. in the attic of his home. He placed small ads in national magazines like Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens, which dramatically expanded his list of potential dinnerware customers. We've reached out to a couple of these very first customers to chat about their favorite tableware, and the ways we've been honored to help them replace or add to their collections through the years.

Dianne Gordon and Bobbie Welch have been valued Replacements' customers since 1981, and both originally discovered Replacements through early magazine ads.

"I've got more china than I can put up," Dianne admits. "My favorite pattern depends on how I'm decorating - I really love it all." Dianne's "good" china pattern is Kent by Aynsley & Sons, but her other favorite tableware includes patterns with fish, chicken, or wild game motifs. "One of my favorites is hand-painted Mexican pottery. I've got plates decorated with chickens, and covered dishes that are shaped like turtles. That's a fun pattern - I've had big parties with that," Dianne adds.

"In my china I have two favorites," Bobbie says. "The first one is Lily of the Valley, which I got when I married. And what's really interesting is my sister picked it out for me when I was in college. She was 10 years older than I was, and, may I say, had much better taste! I got married on May 12, 1951 - soon be 65 years. The second pattern that I just love is one that my daughter gave me - Mariposa by Villeroy & Boch. I love it!"

Dianne regularly opens her home for Hospice fundraisers and other charity events. "Sometimes there are 50 or 60 people attending, which is a lot of people, but what's a house for if you can't use it!" says Dianne. "I'm in the middle of doing a tablescape for a benefit right now which will have a Japanese theme. In the past, I've done a Mexican-themed table with hand-painted dishes from the '20s, '30s, and '40s. I've done bird themes and children's teas, the list goes on and on!" Replacements has been a go-to resource for Dianne when, after a fundraising event, she notices she's short a piece or two. "I immediately order a replacement," Dianne adds.

Bobbie and her daughter often combine their tableware for bigger events. "My daughter uses my silver when her husband has his office dinner at their house every Christmas," says Bobbie. "I enjoy letting her use my tableware for a big event."

Replacements has also been an identification and gift-shopping resource for Dianne and Bobbie. Dianne said, "You identified some crystal that was made in Germany that nobody else could identify." Bobbie uses Replacements to find gifts in addition to pieces for her own collection. "I just ordered some silver from you for our granddaughter-in-law's birthday," says Bobbie. "I live in a rural community, and I love the fact that I can shop Replacements from home. I use you for gift-giving all the time!"

When we asked Bobbie and Dianne what their tableware means to them, Bobbie felt, "China brings back memories from having gotten married when I was 18 years old, and just all the joys of life."

"China means entertaining to me - dinner parties, and my daughter's engagement party many years ago," Dianne says. "It's fun. I like to look at it. I'm so glad you've been there for 35 years - actually, my husband isn't, but I am!"

Here, our talented Lead Designer Julie Robbins expertly crafted a fun table setting centered on Amapola, one of our top patterns from 1981. As you can see, it's easy to use a classic pattern to set a fresh and thoroughly modern table that still maintains traditional appeal!

"This place setting is grounded by a deep blue Mikasa service plate, which makes the blue tones in Amapola really pop," Julie said. "The Johnson Brothers Devon Cottage accent plate in coral not only complements the blue colors in Amapola and the service plate, but also highlights the peachy florals and adds a 'cottage' feel, which is a very popular look this year." According to Julie, bird-themed designs are flocking to tables everywhere this season, so the 222 Fifth Early Bird appetizer bowl and latte mug are very on-trend - not to mention, they give the table a whimsical spring feeling! Final touches for this place setting include chunky, casual colored glassware, bright linens, and a classic stainless pattern. These modern pieces help bring Amapola up-to-date, while providing a look that's contemporary and fun! Click here to see this place setting...

We're excited to share some of the great new features we've recently added to our website! First up, our specials page now offers a unique collection of vintage and one-only pieces perfect for collectors, as well as inspiration for your spring table designs and gift-giving. We're also now offering great savings on a number of items. And if you haven't visited our Stylish Tablescapes in Our Store page in a while, be sure to check out our recently updated tablescapes for spring and Easter!

Since we're looking back at some older patterns in this newsletter, we wanted to remind you about our storage solutions and literature, which are great for making sure your heirloom patterns are properly cared for (and for learning a bit of interesting tableware history while you're at it)!

In addition to all these great features, we're very excited to announce that we now accept PayPal as a payment method, making it easier than ever to shop with us online!

Our Spring Design & Style seminars are the perfect way to kick off the spring entertaining season! These fabulous on-site seminars are coming up March 18 and 19, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more info...

As we strive to build meaningful relationships and deliver exceptional service, we're committed to giving back to our community. That's why we're celebrating our 35th anniversary by building a second Habitat for Humanity home!

"I heard such wonderful, positive comments from so many of our employees when we built the house for our 30th anniversary, that we couldn't think of a better way of marking our upcoming milestone than once again partnering with Habitat," says Founder and CEO Bob Page. "The last build really brought us closer not only as a company, but a family. I believe this project truly reflects the lessons I learned growing up from my parents of treating others with respect and sharing with your neighbor, which are key core values that have guided this company since I started Replacements in the attic of my home."

Although our actual anniversary falls on March 17, we'll be joining our partner family to raise the framing on their new home on Saturday, March 19, 2016.

As we continue to celebrate our 35th anniversary throughout the year, please remember that none of this would be possible without you. We're looking forward many more years of doing what we love and helping to connect our customers with their most cherished memories!